1. The material world
is full of analogies
adapted to the illustration of spiritual things. No teacher ever drew from this inexhaustible storehouse such a rich variety of examples as our Saviour. His disciples are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a city set on a hill. From the ravens which God feeds and the lilies which God clothes, he teaches the unreasonableness of worldly anxiety. The kingdom of heaven is like seed sown in different soils, like a field of wheat and tares growing together, and like seed that springs up and grows the sower knows not how. Again it is like a net cast into the sea, like a grain of mustard seed, and like leaven hid in three measures of meal. When the Saviour opens his lips the whole world of nature stands ready to furnish him with arguments and illustrations; as well it may, since the God of nature is also the God of revelation. The world of secular activity
abounds in like analogies, on which another class of our Lord's parables is based; like that of the vineyard let out to husbandmen, the servants intrusted with different talents, the ten virgins, the importunate friend, the unjust judge, the unfaithful steward, the prodigal son, and others that need not be enumerated. Analogies like these, however, do not properly constitute types
. Types rest on a foundation of analogy, but do not consist in analogy alone.
2. In the history of God's people, moreover, as well as of the world which he governs with reference to them, the present is continually foreshadowing something higher in the future. This must be so, because the train of events in their history constitutes, in the plan of God, neither a loose and disconnected series nor a confused jumble of incidents, like a heap of stones thrown together without order or design, but a well-ordered whole. It is a building, in which the parts now in progress indicate what is to follow. It is the development of a plant, in which |the blade| foreshadows |the ear,| and the ear, |the full corn in the ear.| The primal murder, when |Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him,| |because his own works were evil and his brother's righteous,| was the inauguration of the great conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent -- the forerunner of the higher struggle in Egypt between Pharaoh on the side of the devil, and the covenant people on the side of the seed of the woman. This struggle in Egypt, again, foreshadowed the still higher contest between truth and error in the land of Canaan -- a contest which endured through so many centuries, and enlisted on both sides so many kings and mighty men; and which, in its turn, ushered in the grand conflict between the kingdom of Christ and that of Satan, a conflict that began on the day of Pentecost, and is yet in progress. This continual foreshadowing of the future by the present is essentially of a typical nature, yet it does not constitute, in and of itself, what we understand by a type in the ordinary usage of the term.
3. A type is a symbol appointed by God to adumbrate something higher in the future, which is called the antitype. This definition includes three particulars: (1.) The type must be a true adumbration of the thing typified, though, from the very nature of the case, the adumbration must be inadequate -- a shadow only of the antitype, and not its substance. Thus the paschal lamb was a type of Christ, though there is infinitely more in the antitype than in the type. (2.) The symbol must be of divine appointment, and as such, designed by God to represent the antitype. We must carefully remember, however, that, from the very nature of the case, the divine intention cannot be clearly announced when the type is instituted. The paschal lamb typified |the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world;| but it was not till centuries after the institution of the passover that God began to intimate by the prophets the approaching sacrifice of the great Antitype (Isa. chap.53; Zech.13:7), and the full import of the type was revealed only when the sacrifice of |Christ our passover| had been accomplished on Calvary. (3.) Since the type is |a shadow of good things to come,| it follows that the antitype must belong to the future. A pure symbol may belong to the present or the near future. It may represent something that now exists, or is coming into existence, in respect to which concealment is not necessary. Hence we find the sacred writers freely explaining the meaning of the symbols which they employ (Numb. chap.17; Josh.4:1-7; 1 Sam.7:12; 10:1, and the same symbol of anointing often elsewhere; 1 Kings 11:29-39; 22:11, where a false prophet uses a symbol; Isa. chap.20; Jer.1:11-14; 13:1-11, and elsewhere; Ezek. chap.3, and in many other passages; Amos 7:1-9; 8:1-3; Zech.1:8-11, and elsewhere). The true type, on the contrary, reckoned from the time of its institution, looks forward to the distant future. The high reality which it foreshadows may be intimated by the prophets |as in a glass darkly,| but the appearance of the antitype can alone furnish a full explanation of its meaning.
The types of the Old Testament have been variously classified. We propose to consider them under the two divisions of historical and ritual types.
I. HISTORICAL TYPES.
4. The extravagance of a class of Biblical expositors in converting the Old Testament history into allegory typical of persons and events under the gospel dispensation has produced a strong reaction, leading some to deny altogether the existence of historical types. But this is going to the other extreme of error. No man who acknowledges the writers of the New Testament to be true expositors of the meaning of the Old can consistently deny the existence in the Old Testament of such types, for they interpret portions of its history in a typical way. But it is of the highest importance that we understand, in respect to such history, that it has a true and proper significance of its own, without respect to its typical import. It is not allegory, which has, literally taken, no substance. It is not mere type, like the rites of the Mosaic law, the meaning of which is exhausted in their office of foreshadowing the antitype. It is veritable history, valid for the men of its own day, fulfilling its office in the plan of God's providence, and containing, when we look at it simply as history, its own lessons of instruction. We call it typical history because, following the guidance of the New Testament writers, we are constrained to regard it as so ordered and shaped by God's providence as to prefigure something higher in the Christian dispensation.
No careful student of the New Testament can for a moment doubt that David's kingdom typified the kingdom of Christ. There is, indeed, a very important sense in which David's kingdom was identical with that of Christ; for its main element was the visible church of God, founded on the covenant made with Abraham, and therefore in all ages one and indivisible. Rom.11:17-24; Gal.3:14-18; Ephes.2:20. But we now speak of David's kingdom in its outward form, which was temporary and typical of something higher. In this sense it is manifest that God appointed it to foreshadow that of the Messiah. David's headship adumbrated the higher headship of the Redeemer; his conflicts with the enemies of God's people and his final triumph over them, Christ's conflicts and victories. The same thing was true of Solomon, and in a measure of all the kings of David's line, so far as they were true to their office as the divinely appointed leaders of the covenant people. Unless we adopt this principle, the view which the New Testament takes of a large number of Psalms -- the so-called Messianic psalms -- becomes utterly visionary.
But neither David's kingdom nor his headship over it was mere type. The nation over which he presided was a historic reality, a true power among the other nations of the earth. His leadership also, with its conflicts and triumphs, belongs to true history. It brought to the people of his own day true deliverance from the power of their enemies; and it contains, when we study it without reference to its typical character, true lessons of instruction for all ages.
The declarations of Scripture in respect to the typical nature of the prophetical office are not so numerous and decisive as those which relate to the kingly office. There is, however, a remarkable passage in the book of Deuteronomy, from which we may legitimately infer that it was truly typical of Christ. When God had addressed the people directly from the midst of the cloud and fire on Sinai, unable to endure this mode of communication between God and man, they besought God that he would henceforth address them through the ministry of Moses: |Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.| Exod.20:19. With reference to this request, God said to Moses: |They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth: and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.| Deut.18:17-19. The essential points of this promise are, that the promised prophet shall be like Moses, one whose words shall be invested with supreme authority; and, especially, that he shall be raised up from among their brethren, and shall therefore be a man like themselves. The promise was manifestly intended to meet the wants of the covenant people from that day and onward. Yet the great Prophet in whom it was fulfilled did not appear till after the lapse of fifteen centuries or more. But in the mean time the promise was truly fulfilled to God's people in a typical way through the succession of prophets, who spake in God's name, and who were men like their brethren to whom they were sent. In these two essential particulars the prophetical office truly prefigured Christ, its great Antitype.
The Old Testament contains not only typical orders of men, but typical transactions also; that is, transactions which, while they had their own proper significance as a part of the history of God's church, were yet so ordered by God as to shadow forth with remarkable clearness and force the higher truths of Christ's kingdom. Such are the transactions between Melchizedek and Abraham recorded in the fourteenth chapter of Genesis. Considered simply in itself, Melchizedek's priesthood belongs to the class of ritual types. But in the record of his intercourse with Abraham there is an accumulation of historic circumstances arranged by God's providence to shadow forth the higher priesthood of Christ. (1.) He united in his person the kingly and priestly offices, as does the Messiah. In the hundred and tenth Psalm it is, in like manner, a king invested by God with universal sovereignty, to whom the declaration is made: |The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek.| (2.) In official dignity he was higher than Abraham, and thus higher than any of Abraham's descendants by natural generation; for Abraham paid tithes to him, and received from him the priestly blessing (Gen.14:19, 20); |And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.| Heb.7:7. (3.) His priesthood was without limitation, and had thus the attribute of universality. It was not restricted in its exercise by nationality, for Abraham was not one of his people. (4.) He did not belong to a line of priests, who transmitted their office from father to son. He was, so far as we know from the record, without predecessors, and had no successor in his priesthood. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews describes him as one who is |without father, without mother, without pedigree| (marginal rendering), |having neither beginning of days nor end of life: but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.| Heb.7:3. In the interpretation of this difficult passage, we must begin with the axiomatic principle that Melchizedek was a human being. He could not have been, as some have thought, the Son of God himself; for how could the Son of God be |made like unto the Son of God?| Nor could he have been an angel; for angels are not partakers of human nature, and cannot therefore typify him who came in human nature to deliver those who are |partakers of flesh and blood.| Heb.2:14-18; 4:15; 5:1, 2. And if he was a proper man, then he was |without father, without mother, without pedigree,| not in an absolute sense, but with reference to his priesthood. He was a priest whose genealogy is not mentioned, because his priesthood was not restricted, like that of the Levitical priests, to any particular line of descent. He held his priesthood from God, without predecessors or successors. The words that follow -- |having neither beginning of days nor end of life: but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually| -- are more difficult. It is certain, however, that they cannot be understood absolutely. They are commonly interpreted upon the same principle as the preceding words; namely, that in omitting from the inspired record every limitation of Melchizedek's life as well as descent, it was God's purpose to shadow forth the unlimited nature of Christ's priesthood; that, in truth, the apostle describes Melchizedek, the type, in terms which hold good in their full meaning only of Christ the great Antitype. They who, admitting that Melchizedek was a human being, find the interpretation unsatisfactory, must leave the apostle's words shrouded in mystery.
But whatever obscurity there is in the scriptural notices of Melchizedek, they abundantly affirm the typical nature of his priesthood as distinguished from that of the Levitical priests. He was a type of Christ not simply as a priest, but also in the peculiar character of his priesthood. He united with his priesthood the kingly office; was superior in dignity to Abraham himself, and thus to the Levitical priests; and his priesthood had the attribute of universality. Here, then, we have an undoubted example of a historic type.
It is not without reason that the deliverance of the covenant people from Egypt, their journey through the wilderness of Arabia under God's guidance, and their final settlement in the land of promise, have been regarded as typical of the higher redemption, guidance, and salvation received through Christ. From the earliest ages of the Christian church this wonderful history has been an inexhaustible storehouse of analogies for the illustration of Christian experience. In his pilgrimage through this vale of tears, the believer instinctively turns to it for instruction and encouragement. The mighty interposition of God when the Israelites were |yet without strength| in their bondage; their protection through the blood of the paschal lamb sprinkled on the doors of their houses when the destroyer passed through Egypt; the opening of a way through the Red sea when all human means of escape failed them; the journey through the wilderness; the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night to guide, the water from the rock to refresh, the manna from heaven morning by morning to feed them; God's faithful discipline in contrast with human unbelief, waywardness, and folly; the final preparation for the conquest of Canaan and its successful accomplishment -- this whole series of events is wonderfully adapted to illustrate the course of Christian experience, and who shall say that God did not order it with a view to this end? We do not resolve it into mere type. We acknowledge it to be true history, valid to the men of that age -- a true earthly deliverance, guidance, and sustenance in the wilderness, conducting to the possession of a true earthly inheritance. But we say that it is a history so ordered by God as to typify the higher pilgrimage of the believer to the heavenly Canaan. It is undeniable that the writer to the Hebrews regards the rest of the covenant people in the land of promise as a type of the rest of heaven. Heb.3:7-4:11. And if that part of the history was typical, it is reasonable to infer that the whole was typical. It belongs to the nature of a type that it should, on the one hand, come short of the fulness of meaning that belongs to the antitype, and, on the other, should contain some things which find no correspondence in that which it adumbrates. The priesthood of the sons of Aaron, as we shall see, typified Christ's priesthood, but only inadequately, as a shadow represents the substance; while sinfulness, which belonged to all the priests of Aaron's line, not only did not correspond to the character of the Antitype, but was in contradiction with it. So is it also with the historical types that have been under consideration. They represent the antitype inadequately, and only in certain respects.
* * * * *
II. RITUAL TYPES.
5. The sacrifices were the central part of the Jewish ritual. But sacrifices imply offerers, a personal God to whom the offering is made, and a priesthood through which it is presented. In the primitive ages of the world, men offered sacrifices in their own behalf and that of their household in whatever place it was their chance to sojourn. Gen.4:4; 8:20; 12:7, 8; 31:54; 33:20; 35:1, 7; 46:1; Job 1:5; 42:8. But upon the establishment of the Mosaic economy, the priestly office was restricted to the family of Aaron. Thenceforward all who wished to offer sacrifices must bring them through the mediation of the priests of Aaron's line. It belonged to the nature of the Mosaic economy, that God should have a visible dwelling-place among the Israelites. The directions for the construction of the tabernacle with its furniture are introduced by the words: |Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.| Exod.25:8. The material sanctuary, then, was God's visible dwelling-place, where he manifested himself to his people, and received their worship according to the rites of his own appointment; the whole being, as we shall see, typical of higher realities pertaining to our redemption through Christ. And as this earthly sanctuary was God's chosen dwelling-place, it followed, as a necessary consequence, that after its erection all the sacrifices must be brought to its altar, and presented there to God through the priesthood of his appointment.
6. The Mosaic tabernacle was a movable structure very simple in its plan. Its frame-work on three sides consisted of upright boards, or rather timbers (for, according to the unanimous representation of the Jewish rabbins, they were a cubit in thickness), standing side by side, and kept in position by transverse bars passing through golden rings. Thus was formed an enclosure ten cubits in height, thirty cubits in length from east to west, and ten cubits in width; the eastern end, which constituted the front, having only a vail suspended from five pillars of shittim-wood. Over this enclosure, and hanging down on either side, was spread a rich covering formed by coupling together ten curtains of |fine-twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, with cherubim of cunning work.| Over this was another covering, formed from the union of eleven curtains of goats' hair; and above two other coverings, the one of rams' skins dyed red, and the other, or outermost, of badgers' skins. Surrounding the tabernacle was a court one hundred cubits long and fifty wide, enclosed by curtains of fine-twined linen supported on pillars five cubits high. The tabernacle itself was divided by a vail supported on four pillars into two parts; the inner sanctuary, or |holy of holies,| ten cubits every way, and the outer, or |holy place,| twenty cubits long by ten in breadth and height.
In a wider sense the whole movable structure within the court is called the tabernacle. But in a stricter sense the rich inner curtain is distinguished in the Mosaic description as the tabernacle, while the curtain of goats' hair is called the tent. Exod.26:1, 7; 36:8, 14, 19. The true meaning of the word rendered in our version badgers is uncertain. Some think that the seal is referred to.
7. We have seen that the tabernacle was God's visible dwelling-place. But the palace of a king has its audience-rooms, where he receives his subjects and attends to their petitions. In like manner the Mosaic tabernacle, and afterwards the temple, had its |holy of holies| and its |holy place,| the former being in a special sense the abode of Israel's God. The tabernacle, with its furniture, priesthood, and services, is declared in the New Testament to have been |a shadow of good things to come.| Heb.10:1, and elsewhere. Unless we understand this its typical character, we fail to gain any true apprehension of its meaning.
8. In contemplating the truths which the Mosaic tabernacle shadowed forth, we begin with the materials used in its construction. Here we notice two things; their preciousness, and the gradation observed in this respect.
(1.) Their preciousness. All the materials were of the most durable and costly character -- gold, silver, fine-twined linen of blue and purple and scarlet, acacia-wood (the shittim-wood of our version), brass being allowed only in the external appointments. This obviously represented the glory and excellence of God's service, and the corresponding obligation on the part of the worshippers to give to God the best of all that they had.
(2.) The gradation in the preciousness of the materials had reference to the inner sanctuary, where, as will presently be shown, God dwelt between the cherubim that overshadowed the mercy-seat. The rule of gradation was this: the nearer to God's dwelling-place the greater the glory; and hence, as shadowing forth this glory, the more precious the materials. The mercy-seat, where God dwelt between the cherubim, was accordingly of pure gold. All the woodwork pertaining to the tabernacle and its furniture was overlaid with gold. The inner or proper covering of the tabernacle, as also the vail that hung before the ark, separating the holy from the most holy place, was of |fine-twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, with cherubim of cunning work.| The outer vail, at the entrance of the outer sanctuary, was of the same materials, but without the cherubim; while the curtains of the court were made simply of fine-twined linen, suspended from pillars of shittim-wood not overlaid with gold. The sockets, again, that supported the timbers of the tabernacle and the inner row of pillars before the ark were of silver; but those beneath the outer pillars of the sanctuary, and all the pillars of the court, were of brass.
9. Passing to the appointments of the tabernacle, we naturally begin with the inner sanctuary. Here between the wings of the cherubim that overshadowed the mercy-seat, or lid of the ark, was the Shekinah, or visible dwelling-place of Jehovah. In the ark beneath the mercy-seat were placed, by God's direction, the two tables of the law. Exod.25:16 compared with 1 Kings 8:9. This was their appropriate place. It shadowed forth the great truth that God is the fountain of law, and that they who approach him must come in the spirit of true obedience.
That God's dwelling-place was between the cherubim we learn from the original direction for the construction of the ark: |And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there will I meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.| Exod.25:21, 22. In accordance with these words God repeatedly promised that he would meet with Moses at the mercy-seat (Exod.30:36; Lev.16:2; Numb.17:4); and after the dedication of the tabernacle and its altar, it is recorded that |when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with Him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy-seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim.| Numb.7:89. Hence Jehovah is described in the Old Testament as he that dwells between the cherubim.1 Sam.4:4; 2 Sam.6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; Psa.80:1; 99:1; Isa.37:16.
10. In the outer sanctuary, before the vail that separated it from the holy of holies, stood, on the south side, the golden candlestick, with its seven lamps burning always before the Lord (Exod.27:20; 40:24, 25; Lev.24:25), and on the north side the table of show-bread, with its twelve loaves renewed every week (Exod.25:30; 40:22, 23; Lev.24:5-9). These typified the light and the life that come from God's presence through the ordinances of his appointment; and since the end of these ordinances is Jesus Christ, they shadowed him forth as the light of the world and the bread of life. John 8:12; 12:46; 6:35-58; and especially John 1:4. Between the golden candlestick and the table of show-bread, consequently directly in front of the ark, and separated from it by the inner vail, was the golden altar of incense, on which the priests burned sweet incense every morning and evening before the Lord (Exod.30:6-8; 40:26, 27), whereby was shadowed forth Christ's intercession, through which the prayers of saints are made acceptable to God.
In the book of Revelation an angel is represented as offering upon this golden altar much incense with the prayers of all saints. |And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.| Rev.8:3, 4. This passage seems to warrant the interpretation above given to this symbol; not that the ancient covenant people understood fully its meaning, or that of the other symbolic rites, but that such was the mind of the Spirit, to be made manifest in due time.
There is a view of the Mosaic ceremonial, which makes it simply a scenic representation of a king's court; in which the tabernacle represents the royal palace, the incense the homage rendered to the monarch (compare Dan.2:46), the sacrifices, show-bread, and other unbloody offerings the provision made for his table, the priests his ministering servants, etc.; by which the whole is reduced to the idea of service rendered to Jehovah as the national monarch, and all typical representation of the provision made by God for man's spiritual wants is excluded. This interpretation of the Mosaic ritual is as superficial as it is false. In this ritual, service is indeed rendered to God; but it is a service which typically shadows forth the provision which God makes for man's wants as a fallen being -- light for his darkened understanding, life for his spiritual nature dead in trespasses and sins, and reconciliation to God through the blood of Christ. This is the constant interpretation given in the New Testament of the |carnal ordinances| of the Old.
11. In the court before the tabernacle stood the brazen altar with its laver. Here the blood of the sacrifices flowed from age to age -- a lamb every morning and evening, and on the Sabbath day two lambs morning and evening, besides all the public sacrifices connected with the national festivals, and the private sacrifices of individuals. The New Testament teaches us that the Levitical priests who ministered at the Jewish altar typified Christ, our great High Priest. In the one hundred and tenth psalm, which the Saviour himself quotes as written by David |in spirit,| and as referring to himself (Matt.22:41-45; Mark 12:35-37) the Messiah is represented as uniting in himself the kingly and the priestly office. There is a remarkable symbolical transaction in Zechariah (chap.6:9-14) which contains the same representation. The prophet is directed, in the presence of competent witnesses, to |take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua [the Hebrew word answering to the Greek Jesus, which stands in the Septuagint rendering of this passage] the son of Josedech, the high priest.| In his office as high priest Joshua typifies Christ our great High Priest. By the symbolical act of crowning Joshua is typified the kingly office of Christ as united with the priestly. Hence the prophet is directed by God to add: |Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the BRANCH| (compare chap.3:8, and Isa.11:1; Jer.23:4-6; 33:15, 16); |and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.| In accordance with these representations a large part of the epistle to the Hebrews is occupied with a discussion of our Lord's priestly office, in which, beyond contradiction, he is exhibited as the great antitype of both Melchizedec and the Levitical priests.
12. If the Levitical priests typified Christ, it follows that the sacrifices which they offered were also typical of Christ's sacrifice for the sins of the world. So the epistle to the Hebrews argues: |Every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.| Chap.8:3. The Levitical priests stood |daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.| Chap.10:11. Their offerings were only typical of expiation, and needed therefore to be continually repeated till the Antitype itself should appear. But Christ offered his own blood on Calvary, by which he obtained eternal redemption for us, so that his sacrifice needs no repetition. He was |once offered to bear the sins of many;| and by this |one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.| Chaps.9:11-14, 25, 26; 10:10-14.
But this doctrine respecting the typical character of the Levitical sacrifices is not restricted to the epistle to the Hebrews. The New Testament is full of it. John the Baptist, the Saviour's forerunner, announced him as |the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.| John 1:29. Whether we render, as in the margin of our version, |which beareth the sin of the world,| or, as in the text, |which taketh away the sin of the world,| the words contain the idea of a propitiatory sacrifice, or, which amounts to the same thing, an expiatory sacrifice; since it is by expiating our sin that Christ propitiates the Father. By bearing the sin of the world Christ expiates it, and thus takes it away. Thus he is |the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.| 1 John 2:2.
The Saviour himself announced his purpose to die for his people: |I lay down my life for the sheep.| |Therefore doth my Father love me because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.| John 10:15, 17, 18. And lest any should think that he died simply in the character of a martyr, he elsewhere explains that |the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many| -- more literally, |a ransom instead of many| (Matt.20:28; Mark 10:45), where the sacrificial and vicarious nature of our Lord's death is explicitly affirmed.
But it was after our Lord's resurrection that the sacrificial and propitiatory character of his death was most fully revealed. We have seen the view taken of it in the epistle to the Hebrews. With this the other writers of the New Testament are in harmony. Jesus Christ is the great sufferer foretold in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, who |was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed;| upon whom the Lord |laid the iniquity of us all;| who was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth; whose soul God made |an offering for sin;| who |was numbered with the transgressors,| and |bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.| 1 Pet.2:24, 25; Acts 8:32-35; Mark 15:28; Luke 22:37. He |hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God| (1 Pet.3:18); He has redeemed us to God by his blood (Rev.5:9); has |loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood| (Rev.1:5); and his redeemed |have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb| (Rev.7:14).
To recite all the declarations of the apostle Paul on this great theme would be a superfluous work. It is not through Christ's example or teachings, but through his blood that we have |redemption, the forgiveness of sins.| Ephes.1:7. |Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us| (Gal.3:13), words which teach as explicitly as human language can, that Christ has delivered us from the penalty of the divine law, which is its curse, by bearing the curse in our behalf. This he did when he was hanged on the tree. His death on the cross was, then, vicarious, a death in our stead; and propitiatory, for in view of it God releases us from the curse of the law. This is what is meant by a propitiatory sacrifice. Finally, as if to cut off all ground for the assertion that the efficacy of Christ's death lies wholly in its moral influence upon the human heart -- its humbling, softening, and winning power -- the apostle teaches that God has set forth Christ Jesus as a propitiation through faith in his blood for a manifestation of his righteousness, |that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.| Rom.3:25, 26.
Every word of this weighty passage deserves serious consideration. We give by the side of the English version another translation, intended to be somewhat more literal:
Whom God hath set forth to Whom God hath set forth, a be a propitiation, through propitiation, through faith, faith in his blood, to declare in his blood, for the his righteousness for the manifestation of his passing over [marginal righteousness in respect to rendering] of sins that are the overlooking of sins that past, through the forbearance are past, through the of God. To declare, I say, forbearance of God -- a at this time, his manifestation of his righteousness; that he might righteousness at the present be just, and the justifier of time; in order that he may be him which believeth in Jesus. just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.
From these words we learn: (1.) That God has publicly set forth Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice. The following paraphrase gives the probable connection of the words of the first clause: Whom God, by means of his blood, hath set forth as a propitiation through faith. But if we take the connection as given in our version, the propitiation is still through Christ's blood, and is thus a propitiatory or expiatory sacrifice. (2.) That the appropriation to individual sinners of this propitiation is conditioned on personal faith. Christ's propitiatory sacrifice does not, in and of itself, justify any man; but it provides a ground whereby all may be justified, if they will believe in Jesus. (3.) That through Christ's propitiatory sacrifice God makes a public manifestation of his righteousness in showing mercy to sinners. The phrase, |the righteousness of God,| may mean, in the usage of Paul, the righteousness -- justification -- which he gives through faith. But in connection with the words that follow, |that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus,| it can only mean righteousness as an attribute of God, his public justice, namely, as the lawgiver and governor of the world. (4.) That Christ's propitiatory sacrifice was necessary in order that God might show mercy to sinners consistently with the demands of his justice. For when the apostle says |that God might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus,| the words necessarily imply that, without this sacrifice, he could not have been just in justifying sinners. Christ's propitiation was not needed to make God more merciful in his nature; for in this respect he is unchangeably |the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.| But it opens a way by which he may show mercy consistently with his justice and the sanctity of his law. When we raise inquiries concerning the interior nature of the atonement, we meet with deep mysteries, some of which are, perhaps, above the comprehension of finite human understanding. But we can comprehend, and believe upon God's testimony, the great central fact of the gospel, that Christ offered himself to the Father to bear in human nature the curse of the divine law in behalf of sinners; and that God accepted this propitiatory offering as a satisfaction to his justice in such a sense that he can pardon all who believe in Christ without dishonor to himself or injury to his moral government.
13. We have considered Christ as the great Antitype of the Levitical priests and sacrifices. Let us now go back and consider the characteristics belonging to the types themselves, beginning with the priesthood.
(1.) The first point in which the Levitical priests typified Christ was in their possession of the same common human nature as those in whose behalf they acted. |For both he that sanctifieth [Christ] and they who are sanctified [believers] are all of one [one Father, having a common sonship as members of the same family of Adam]: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren| (Heb.2:11); and again: |Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same| (ver.14); and still further: |Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren; that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted| (ver.17, 18; and compare 4:15). Accordingly the priests who typified Christ were taken from among men, not angels; and |able to have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way,| being themselves |compassed with infirmity.| Heb.5:1, 2.
(2.) The Levitical priests, again, were appointed to their office by God: |And no man taketh this honor upon himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.| Heb.5:4-6.
(3.) The Levitical priests, once more, were mediators between God and the people. After the establishment of their priesthood, no Israelite or sojourner in the land could approach God with sacrifices and oblations in his own right, and be his own priest. He must come to God through the priesthood of his appointment -- an expressive type of the great truth announced by Christ; |I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.| John 14:6.
(4.) Finally, the Levitical priests were not only mediators between God and men, but mediators through propitiatory sacrifices. They were ordained to |offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.| Heb.5:1; 8:3. |Wherefore,| adds the writer, |it is of necessity that this man [Christ] have somewhat also to offer.| Heb.8:3. They offered the blood of bulls and goats, which made expiation only in a typical way; he offered to God his own blood as a real propitiation for sin. Heb.7:27; 9:12-28; 10:10-14.
The points of dissimilarity between the Levitical priests and Christ, as stated in the epistle to the Hebrews, all serve to illustrate the superior dignity and efficacy of his priesthood. They were sinful men, and as such needing to offer sacrifice first for their own sins (chap.5:3); but he is |holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens| (chap.7:26). They were many, |because they were not suffered to continue, by reason of death:| but he, |because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.| Chap.7:23, 24. Their offerings could not take away sin. They were only typical of expiation, and therefore needed to be continually repeated. But Christ has by his one offering |perfected for ever them that are sanctified| -- perfected them in respect to the expiation of sin, which is the foundation on which the work of personal sanctification rests. Heb.10:11, 12.
Mediatorship between God and man through propitiatory sacrifice constitutes the central idea of priesthood. The Levitical priests did indeed make intercession for the people in the burning of sweet incense (see above, No.8), and in presenting to God their unbloody offerings, but all this was done through the blood of atonement. We see, then, how false and mischievous is the idea that there can be true mediating priests under the New Testament dispensation. Christ appeared once for all |to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself| (Heb.9:25-28; 10:10-12), since which no further sacrifice is needed, or can be lawfully offered. Christ also opened to all believers through his blood a new and living way of access to God, through which they can come boldly to the throne of grace, having no need of human mediators. Heb.10:18-22. Believers as a body are |a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.| 1 Pet.2:5. They present themselves to God |a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.| Rom.12:1. They |offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of their lips, giving thanks to his name.| Heb.13:15. These spiritual sacrifices offered by the body of believers through Christ, their glorified High Priest, are the only sacrifices known to the New Testament church.
Of the high priest's garments, made by divine direction |for glory and for beauty,| we cannot here speak in detail. Suffice it to say that they represented in general the dignity and excellence of his office, as the divinely appointed mediator between God and the covenant people. The golden plate with the inscription HOLINESS TO THE LORD is its own interpreter. The twelve names of the tribes of Israel, graven on two precious stones, and borne on the shoulders of the high priest, six on each shoulder, and then the same twelve graven on twelve gems, and borne on his breast as he ministered before the Lord, beautifully typify Christ our great High Priest, who bears his people on his shoulders by his almighty power and efficacious atonement, and on his heart by his everlasting love.
14. From the typical priests we naturally pass to the consideration of the typical sacrifices offered by them. Upon Noah's leaving the ark, God prohibited the eating of blood on the ground that it is the life of the animal. Gen.9:4. The reason of this prohibition is unfolded in a passage of the Mosaic law, which clearly sets forth the nature and design of bloody offerings: |And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood, I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: FOR IT IS THE BLOOD THAT MAKETH AN ATONEMENT FOR THE SOUL.| Lev.17:10, 11. Hence the sprinkling of the sacrificial blood by the priest as a sign of expiation, a rite that will be more particularly considered hereafter (No.15). The reason that the blood makes the atonement is that |the life of the flesh is in the blood.| The scriptural idea, then, of a sacrifice is the offering to God of one life in behalf of another that has been forfeited by sin -- the life of the innocent beast instead of the life of the guilty offerer. This general idea of the vicarious and propitiatory nature of sacrifices comes out with beautiful simplicity and clearness in the book of Job: |And it was so when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.| Chap.1:5. And again: |My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly.| Chap.42:7, 8. The sacrifices of the Mosaic law were of various kinds, implying various accessory ideas. But underlying them all was the fundamental idea of propitiation through blood. Hence the writer to the Hebrews, when commenting on the transaction recorded in Exodus, chap.24:4-8, says: |And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.| Heb.9:22. The only exception was in the case of the poor man who was |not able to bring two turtle doves or two young pigeons.| He was allowed to |bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin-offering| (Lev.5:11), upon the principle that God |will have mercy and not sacrifice.|
No orderly classification of sacrifices is to be sought without the pale of the Jewish ceremonial. The burnt-offerings, for example, mentioned in the book of Job, had the force of proper sin-offerings. Chaps.1:5; 42:8. The classification in the book of Leviticus is into burnt-offerings, sin-offerings, trespass-offerings, and peace-offerings. But they may be most conveniently considered in the order of their presentation, when two or more of them were offered on the same occasion, as when Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the priesthood, and the people sanctified in connection with this transaction (Lev. chaps 8, 9), and in the offerings of the great day of atonement (Lev. chap.16).
Here the sin-offering naturally held the first place; for this, as its name indicates, was wholly expiatory and propitiatory, bringing the offerer into a state of forgiveness and divine favor. The sin-offerings had reference (1) to sin generally, as when Aaron and his sons were consecrated and the people sanctified, and when, on the annual day of atonement, expiation was made for the sins of the past year; (2) to specific offences (Lev. chaps.4, 5), The exact distinction between the sin-offering and the trespass-offering is of difficult determination. Both were alike expiatory, were in fact subdivisions of the same class of offerings. A comparison of the passages in which trespass-offerings are prescribed (Lev.5:1; 6:1-7; Numb.5:6-8) seems to indicate that they belonged especially to trespasses for which restitution could be made.
Next in the order of sacrifices, though first in dignity, came the burnt-offering, also called holocaust (Heb. kalil) that is, whole burnt-offering, the characteristic mark of which was the consuming of the whole by fire (Lev. chap.1). It is conceded by all that this was a symbol of completeness; but in what respect is a question that has been answered in different ways. Some refer the completeness to the offering itself, as that form of sacrifice which embraces in itself all others (Rosenmueller on Deut.33:10); or, as the most perfect offering, inasmuch as it exhibits the idea of offering in its completeness and generality, and so concentrates in itself all worship. Baehr, Symbolik, vol.2, p.362. But we cannot separate, in the intention of God, the completeness of the form from the state of the offerer's mind. The burnt-offering was indeed, in its outward form, the most perfect of all sacrifices, for which reason it excluded female victims, as relatively inferior to the male sex. But because of this its completeness and generality it signified the entire self-consecration of the offerer to God. Winer and others after Philo. But this, let it be carefully remembered, was a self-consecration that could be made only through the blood of expiation, to indicate which, the blood of the burnt-offering was sprinkled by the priest |round about upon the altar;| or, in the case of a bird, where the quantity was too small to be thus sprinkled, was |wrung out at the side of the altar.|
The peace-offering (more literally, offering of renditions; that is, offering in which the offerer rendered to God the tribute of praise and thanksgiving which was his due) was in all its different subdivisions -- thank-offering, votive offering, free-will offering (Lev.7:11-16) -- a eucharistic offering. Hence its social character. After the sprinkling of the blood, the burning of the prescribed parts on the altar, and the assignment to the priest of his portion, the offerer and his friends feasted joyfully before the Lord on the remainder. Lev. chap.3 compared with chap.7:11-18. In the case of monarchs, like David and Solomon, the whole nation was feasted.2 Sam.6:17-19; 1 Kings 8:62-66. Hence the Messiah, as the great King of all nations, is beautifully represented as paying his peace-offerings to God for the deliverance granted him from his foes, and as summoning all nations to the sacrificial feast: |My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation; I will pay my vows [vows in the form of peace-offerings] before them that fear him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord,| etc. Psa.22:25-31. The peace-offering naturally followed the burnt-offering, as that did the sin-offering in the sanctification of the Israelitish congregation. Lev.9:15-18. It signified joyful communion with God in thanksgiving and praise; but this, too, only through the blood of the victim sprinkled upon the altar as a sign of expiation. Lev. chap.3. In these three classes of offerings, then, we have typically set forth, first, expiation restoring man to God's favor, then self-consecration, then holy communion in thanksgiving and praise -- ALL THREE ONLY THROUGH THE SPRINKLING OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST, the great Antitype of the Levitical priests and sacrifices.
The sacrificial nature of the passover appears in the direction given at its institution that the blood of the paschal lamb should be sprinkled on the lintel and two side-posts of the house where it was eaten as a protection against the destroyer of the first-born (Exod.12:22, 23); and in the ordinance afterwards established, requiring that it should be slain at the sanctuary (Deut.16:1-8), and its blood sprinkled upon the altar.2 Chron.30:16; 35:11. Its character approached very near to that of the peace-offerings. It was a joyous festival, commemorative of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage; and thus typically shadowing forth the higher redemption of God's people from the bondage of sin. As the blood of the paschal lamb sprinkled on the doors of the houses protected the inmates from the destroyer of the first-born, so does the blood of Christ protect all who through faith receive its expiatory power from the wrath to come. As the Israelites feasted joyfully on the flesh of the paschal lamb, so does the church feed by faith on the great antitypal Lamb of God, who is the true Passover sacrificed for us.1 Cor.5:7.
There were some other sacrifices of a special character, such as those by which the covenant between God and the people was ratified (Exod.24:3-8); the ram of consecration, when Aaron and his sons were inducted into the priesthood (Lev.8:22-30); the sacrifice and other rites connected with the cleansing of the leper (Lev.14:1-32); the sacrifice of the red heifer from which were prepared the ashes of purification (Numb. chap.19); the sacrifice of the heifer in the case of an uncertain murder (Deut.21:1-9). Respecting these, it is only necessary to remark generally that, whatever other ideas were typified by them, that of expiation through blood was not wanting.
It was required by the law that all the sacrificial victims should be without blemish, not only because the offering to God of an imperfect victim would have been an affront to his majesty (Mal.1:8, 13, 14), but especially because a perfect victim could alone typify the Lamb of God, |without blemish and without spot,| who was offered on Calvary as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.1 Pet.1:19, 20.
Of the unbloody offerings [oblations, called in our version meat-offerings], some were supplementary to the sacrifices, being necessary to their completeness. Such was the salt which, as a symbol of purity and friendship, was prescribed for all meat offerings (Lev.2:13), and seems to have been used with all sacrifices also. Ezek.43:24 compared with Mark 9:49. Such, also were the flour, wine, and oil offered with the daily sacrifice (Exod.29:40), and in certain other cases. Lev.8:26; 9:17; 14:10, etc. Other oblations, like those prescribed in the second chapter of Leviticus, were presented by themselves, as expressions of love, gratitude, and devotion to God on the part of the offerers. After a portion of them, including all the frankincense, had been burned on the altar, the rest went to Aaron and his sons as their portion.
The priests also received specified portions from the peace-offerings of the people, the trespass-offerings, and the sin-offerings the blood of which was not carried into the sanctuary. See Lev. chap.6:24-7:34.
15. Of the typical transactions connected with the offering of sacrifices and oblations we notice the following:
(1.) In all cases the offerer laid his hands upon the head of the victim. The meaning of this act may be inferred from the first mention of it in the Levitical ceremonial: |And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.| Lev.1:4. The act in question was, then, the solemn dedication to Jehovah of the victim for the end proposed. By the laying on of his hands, he presented it to God as his offering to make atonement for his soul, and God accepted it as such. From the very nature of the offering, this act of presentation contained an acknowledgment of guilt that needed expiation, but there was no formal transfer of his sins to the victim, as in the case of the scape-goat. See below, No.16.
(2.) The waving and heaving of offerings belonged to the priests alone. Both were manifestly acts of presentation and dedication to God. For example, the loaf of bread, cake of oiled bread, and wafer of unleavened bread employed upon the occasion of Aaron's consecration were first placed in his hands to be waved before the Lord, and then burned by Moses on the altar of burnt-offering. Exod.29:23-25. So also the breast of the ram of consecration was waved, and the right shoulder heaved, before they were eaten by Aaron and his sons (Exod.29:26-28); the lamb of the leper who had been healed, with the accompanying oblation, was waved by the priest before the Lord before slaying it. Lev.14:12, seq.
According to the rabbins, the waving consisted of a movement forwards and backwards. Some think that there was also a lateral motion from right to left and the reverse. The heaving was a movement upwards and downwards. The ground of the distinction between these two forms of presentation to Jehovah is uncertain. We only know that the ceremony of heaving was restricted to certain cases. Thus the breast of the peace-offerings was always waved, and the right shoulder heaved, before they were given to the priests as their portion. Lev.7:28-34.
(3.) The sprinkling of the victim's blood was a most weighty part of the ceremonial, for by this expiation was symbolized. It was accordingly restricted to the priest, who was the appointed mediator between God and the people. The sevenfold sprinkling of the blood that was carried into the sanctuary (Lev.4:6, 17; 16:14, 19), and in certain other cases (Lev.8:11; 14:7, 51) denoted the completeness of the expiation, seven being the well-known symbol of perfection. Hence the New Testament beautifully represents believers as purified from sin by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, the great Antitype of the Mosaic sacrifices. Heb.9:13, 14; 10:22; 12:24; 1 Pet.1:2.
Kindred to the rite of sprinkling was the application of the victim's blood to the horns of the altar and to the person of the offerer. Exod.29:12, 20; Lev.4:7, 18, 25, 30; 8:15, 24; 14:14, etc.
(4.) The burning of the offering, or of certain specified parts of it, upon the altar, whereby its odor ascended up to heaven, was a natural expression of dedication to God. Compare Gen.8:21, Lev.1:9, etc.
16. We have seen the typical import of the furniture of the tabernacle (Nos.8 and 9 above). That the tabernacle itself, considered generally, had also a typical meaning, is admitted by all who believe in revelation. But when we come to the consideration of details, we encounter diversities of interpretation which cannot be here considered. We notice only the following points:
(1.) The Mosaic tabernacle was, as we have seen, God's visible earthly dwelling-place. As such, it shadowed forth his real presence and glory, first, in the church of the redeemed on earth through Jesus Christ; secondly, in the glorified church in heaven. Some think that the outer sanctuary, with its altar of incense, its golden candlestick, and its table of show-bread, typified God's presence with the church militant, through her divinely-appointed ordinances; and the inner sanctuary, his presence with the church triumphant in heaven.
(2.) Under the Mosaic economy, the people were not admitted to either sanctuary. They could approach God only through the mediation of the priests. The priests themselves entered the outer sanctuary daily to burn incense and perform the other prescribed services; but the high priest alone was permitted to enter the most holy place once every year with the blood of the sin-offering. This represented that, under the old dispensation, the way of access to God on the part of sinners was not yet made manifest. In respect to the holy of holies, we have the express statement of inspiration: |But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.| Heb.9:7, 8. By parity of reason, the principle holds good in respect to the exclusion of the people from the outer sanctuary. We are informed, accordingly, that when Christ cried upon the cross with a loud voice, |It is finished,| and gave up the ghost, |the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.| Matt.27:50, 51; Mark 15:37, 38; Luke 23:45, 46. By this was signified that now the way of access to God was opened through Christ's blood to all believers; so that they constitute a spiritual priesthood, having access to God within the vail without the help of any earthly mediation, that they may there |offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.| Heb.7:25; 10:19, 20; 1 Pet.2:5, 9; Rev.1:6.
(3.) The typical character of the tabernacle appears very strikingly in the ceremonies of the great day of atonement. Lev. chap.16. After the high-priest had first offered a sin-offering for himself, and sprinkled its blood in the inner sanctuary upon and before the mercy-seat seven times, he brought the two goats that had been appointed for the expiation of the people, one for a sin-offering, the other for a scape-goat, the office of each being determined by lot. When he had slain the goat of the sin-offering, he carried its blood into the most holy place, and sprinkled it also seven times upon and before the mercy-seat, to |make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins (ver.16).| Then it was directed that the live goat should be brought: |And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited; and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.| Ver.21, 22. By this double ceremonial was signified, first, that Christ should expiate our sins by his own blood; secondly, that through this expiation he should bear them in his own person, and thus remove them far away from us. The Jewish high priest entered year by year through the earthly tabernacle into God's presence with the blood of the sin-offering, that he might sprinkle it before the mercy-seat. But Christ, our great High Priest, has entered |by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands| into heaven itself, to present his own blood before the throne of God as a perfect propitiation for our sins. Heb 9:11, 12, 24.
The striking ceremonial connected with the scape-goat on the great day of atonement (Lev. chap.16) is never to be interpreted separately, but always in connection with the other goat, which was slain as a sin-offering, and its blood carried within the vail into the most holy place. The inadequacy of the type made it necessary that two goats should be used in this one service, one to represent the expiation of the people's sin through the sprinkling of its blood; the other, the vicarious bearing and taking away of their sin. Whatever difficulties are connected with the interpretation of the Hebrew word rendered in our version |for a scape-goat| (Hebrew, la-azazel), the typical meaning of the transaction is clear, and it has its fulfilment only in Christ, who has expiated, and so taken away, the sin of the world.
(4.) In the case of the more solemn sacrifices -- the sin-offerings for the high-priest and for the congregation (Lev.4:1-21; chap.16) -- the expiatory blood was carried into the sanctuary to be presented before God. But the victim was in all cases slain without the sanctuary; and when its blood was carried into the sanctuary, its body typically bearing the curse of the violated law, was burned without the camp. In correspondence with this, the writer to the Hebrews reminds us that |Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.| Heb.13:11, 12. He suffered |without the gate| in a two-fold sense. As a condemned malefactor, he was thrust out of the holy city, which answered to the ancient Israelitish camp, and there he expiated on the cross the sin of the world. He also suffered |without the gate| of the true holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, which he left that he might tabernacle among men and die for their redemption; and having accomplished this work, he went |by his own blood| into the heavenly holy of holies, there to make intercession for us.
The dignity and sacredness of these solemn sin-offerings made it necessary that a clean place should be selected for the burning of the flesh; but inasmuch as they were typically laden with the curse of sin, they were carried without the precincts of the camp where God dwelt, and there consumed, where the ashes of all the bloody offerings were poured out. Lev.4:11, 12, 21; 16:27. The man, moreover, who performed the service of burning the sin-offering on the day of atonement, having been typically defiled by contact with it, was required to wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water before coming into the camp. Lev.16:28. In the case of the scape-goat, |the wilderness,| the |land not inhabited,| answered to the place without the camp where the sin-offering was burned; and the man that led him away was, in like manner, required to wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water before reentering the camp. Lev.16:26.
17. The distinctions between clean and unclean in respect to articles of food and various other particulars, had also a typical meaning. That the regulations in regard to these matters were promotive of physical purity and health is undoubtedly true; yet we are not to consider them as simply a sanitary code. They reached to the inner man. Through these physical distinctions of clean and unclean God educated the people to an apprehension of the difference between moral purity and impurity.
The Levitical view of sickness and every bodily infirmity is deep and fundamental. All is referred to sin as the primal cause. The sufferer from leprosy and various other infirmities (Lev. chaps.12-15) is regarded not as a sinner above other men (Luke 13:1-5), but yet as suffering in the character of a sinner. Hence the ceremonial uncleanness of such persons, and the expiatory offerings required in the case of those who have been healed.